Jennifer Aniston is weighing in on the evolution of comedy.
The “Friends” alum addressed how the world has changed since the 1990s sitcom aired. “There’s a whole generation of people, kids, who are now going back to episodes of ‘Friends’ and find them offensive,” Aniston told the Associated Foreign Press (via Yahoo!).
“There were things that were never intentional and others…well, we should have thought it through, but I don’t think there was a sensitivity like there is now,” Aniston added.
“Friends” has been criticized for its lack of diversity. The series aired from 1994 to 2004.
“Comedy has evolved, movies have evolved,” Aniston shared. “Now it’s a little tricky because you have to be very careful, which makes it really hard for comedians, because the beauty of comedy is that we make fun of ourselves, make fun of life.”
The “Murder Mystery 2” actress said, “You could joke about a bigot and have a laugh. That was hysterical. And it was about educating people on how ridiculous people were, and now we’re not allowed to do that.”
She added, “Everybody needs funny! The world needs humor! We can’t take ourselves too seriously. Especially in the United States. Everyone is far too divided.”
Comedians like Brett Goldstein, Jerrod Carmichael, John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson, and Hannah Einbinder have all recently slammed the concept of cancel culture targeting comics. Atkinson said it’s especially “comedy’s job to offend,” while Cleese compared it to the “death of creativity.”
“You can do the creation and then criticize it, but you can’t do them at the same time. So if you’re worried about offending people and constantly thinking of that, you are not going to be very creative. So I think it has a disastrous effect,” Cleese said in July 2022. “If you go to a Republican convention and tell anti-Democrat jokes, you’ll get a very good response. If you tell anti-Republican jokes, you won’t. So you’ve got to fit your material to some extent to your audience. And that’s part of it… If you go to see your granny and to have tea with her, you don’t start telling her sex jokes. Now that’s not because it’s illegal, it’s just bad manners.”